Warren, Mich.— General Motors Co. has forged a broad partnership with LG Corp. for the development of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, sourcing everything from battery cells and electric motors to the infotainment system from the Korean company.
LG's chemical unit has long been GM's primary supplier of lithium ion batteries for EVs — it contracted with GM as far back as 2008 to jointly develop battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt, for example. For the Bolt, scheduled to go on sale in late 2016, LG also will supply the guts of the electric drive system, from the electric motor and power inverter module to the onboard charger.
Both lithium ion battery cells and electric drive systems use plastics extensively. The Volt, for instance, uses more than 35 pounds of engineered plastics just for the frames used to hold individual cells.
Beyond electric-drive technology, LG will supply a major piece of the Bolt's interior systems, including a new design for the instrument cluster and infotainment unit, the companies said.
“It's not just about EVs,” GM global product chief Mark Reuss told reporters during a conference call Oct. 20. “We're also looking at ways we can leverage LG's expertise in consumer electronics, particularly in display systems, to raise the bar with our interiors.”
Partnering with one supplier to provide such a wide swath of a vehicle's componentry is “unprecedented” and marks a shift in the traditional vehicle-development process, both companies said. Working jointly allowed GM to keep the cost of the Bolt down — it will be priced at less than $30,000 after a $7,500 tax credit — and helped accelerate its development, Reuss said.